Apr 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost (3) during batting practice before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Puts Yost Under The Microscope


They say the spotlight shines brightest when you’re winning. I think Royals skipper Ned Yost is finding this saying to be all too true. He’s been second guessed two games in a row for decisions that ultimately led to losses. Some of the criticisms are unfair but others, I believe, are spot on. It’s a tough life for a manager, moves that work are praised and then quickly forgotten, while those that don’t are analyzed over and over.

The first decision that prompted outrage was the removal of James Shields after 8 scoreless innings on Monday. You know the story, Shields was cruising having allowed only 2 hits to the punchless White Sox but Yost chose to bring in his closer, Gregg Holland, to finish the game. Holland blew the save and the Royals eventually lost in 11 innings. I actually didn’t have a problem with this move. In his previous 9 appearances, Holland had allowed zero earned runs and struck out 16 in 9 innings. The league hit .156/.206/.219 against him during that time so it was reasonable to expect Holland to come in and pitch and scoreless 9th. Games like these are heart breakers and, spoiler alert, will happen again.

Last night’s decision is harder to defend, so I won’t. With the go ahead runner on base Yost turned to the absolute worst guy to go to, Luke Hochevar. Hoch’s struggles with men on base are well documented so it came as no great surprise when the run scored. He’s been pretty solid lately, and Aaron Crow was being saved for a save situation, so the move made some sense, but it would have made more if Hochevar had started the 8th inning. A manager has to put his players in position to succeed and Yost didn’t do that last night. Since he didn’t learn anything the last time Hochevar let inherited runners score we can only hope he was genuinely paying attention last night.

A move, or rather non-move, getting less publicity is Yost’s decision to not send George Kottaras to the plate in the 9th inning. Instead he trotted out the low OBP trifecta of Jeff Francoeur, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas. Kottaras has come to the plate in a late and close situation six times this year and has drawn a walk in four of them. They needed a baserunner and, small sample size or not, he’s shown an ability to get on base.

The last time Jarrod Dyson started a game he had 2 hits, 2 RBIs and a stolen base. That was April 28th in a 9-0 win against the Indians. In the 8 games since, Jeff Francoeur has put up a .200/.250/.333 line in 32 plate appearances. Dyson has seemingly been typecast as Billy Butler‘s late game pinch runner. He’s good at it, sure, but there’s absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be starting against right-handed pitching.

 

 

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Ned Yost

  • jimfetterolf

    Good, agreeable piece. I would note that, per Brooks Baseball, Shields’ velocity was dropping late and he had less separation of speed between the FB and CH. Shields does have a career .241/.314/.417 after 100 pitches, which is pretty good. Holland’s 9th inning career is .212/.273/.288, per BR.

    Also from Brooks, Wieters looks to have hit a tough pitch, right at the bottom of zone, but a touch too centered. Wieters did a good job against a tough pitch, but agree that Hochevar starting an inning is more comfortable. On the other hand, Holland, Herrera, Collins, and Crow had all been recently torched, so Hoch might have been looking a little better. I think it’s just a slump for the ‘pen and they work through. Besides, Donnie Joseph isn’t exactly dominating AAA, so options are limited.

    • Jeff Parker

      Thank you, I’m not worried about the bullpen either. I do think it’s silly that Gutierrez is still on the 25 man roster. I mean, if he’s not considered an option when a few others are unavailable then what’s the point of his presence? Louis Coleman has a 1.45 ERA for Omaha and he’s had legitimate big league success the last two seasons (110.2 IP, 127 ERA+, 10.5 SO/9).

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